Friday, August 21, 2009

How bad do you want it?

The Columbia River Crossing has many different players and affects many groups and as such is getting lots of interesting cross talk.

Sometimes they talk about freight and the poor, pathetic semi-truck drivers who for whatever reason are not bright enough to use the I-205 crossing (when in fact professional drivers have access to technology that helps them avoid traffic by not driving in cities during rush hour, amazing!).

Other times they talk about safety. Usually about the condition of the current bridge itself and specifically the timber pylons. "Did you know we are trusting our lives to wood?!?" But they don't bring up that nearly every other bridge in Portland has a lower safety rating according to their own investigations.

Then sometimes they talk about the river boat captains who run the risk of hitting the I-5 bridge because the opening does not line us up the railroad bridge just to the west. Alas, they never mention how the railroad bridge actually does need to be replaced, and could be done so for 1/400th of the cost of the current CRC proposal.

But today good reader we are all about the Tolling!

The pro CRC people have created a survey that is pretty interesting. I hope that everyone take 5 min to fill it out.

They dance around the issue of tolling like a pro bowl quarterback dancing around defensive linemen. What a study in framing the discussion! The survey is awe inspiring in its ability to pacify the otherwise rabid opposition. I think, however that we can greatly simplify the matter for the majority of people:

Would you be in favor of a replacement I-5 bridge if it had a $4.00 toll?

This is the blunt question the CRC does not want to ask (especially the "build it now!" - type dittoheads in Vancouver). Even though the CRC folk haven't been forthcoming with all the information they have gotten the hint from Obamma that the federal government wouldn't pay for it outright, and since they are only a few billion dollars short... hey with a $8 toll (adjusted to $10.50 by 2017) we could pay for this bridge by 2050.

So would you be in favor of replacing the I-5 Bridge if it means paying a $4.00 toll to cross it?

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